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G.K. Chesterton speeches


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I had no idea that G.K. Chesterton speeches were available as mp3s (at CDBaby) until I noticed this YouTube video.

First time I've ever heard his voice. I'm surprised. That's not the voice I'd imagined. I'd imagined something throatier, fuller, more Brian Blessed.



Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.


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That second soundbite is a bit throatier. A few things to consider, sound recording technology was primitive back then and most sounded rather reedy compared with recording techniques and equipment of the last 30 or so years. He probably didn't sound quite like that live and amplified back then. As an experiment, if you find one of those old Wollensak "portable" tape recorders (the size of three or four stacked laptops today) at a garage sale, record yourself and compare the result to any recent recording of one of your lectures or talks. The Wollensak was a state of the art mass market totable from the mid sixties to early seventies.

I'm a "radio brat". I grew up with this stuff even if I have never been technically proficient in this sort of thing.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Gotta enjoy some of the speech and debate re-enactments that they do (sometimes sponsored by the American Chesterton Society). For example, did you know Chesterton debated Clarence Darrrow while he was visiting the states?

It sounds that public Chesterton debates were pretty entertaining to watch actually. Wish they had been able to record more than they did.

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  • 1 month later...

Links to our archive-only threads on 'URGENT: Help with Chesterton' (Sep 2003 - Aug 2005) and 'Thanksgiving Thoughts From Chesterton' (Nov 2008).

Michael Brendan Dougherty responds to a recent post by Austin Bramwell:

Bramwell is looking for an exposition of Christian ideas over and against modern novelties. But Chesterton is rather a publicist and a polemicist on behalf of those ideals. He is not joining some great conversation with Don Scotus, Aristotle, and Fredrick Nietzche. Rather he is in a constant scrum with Bertrand Russell, Benjamin Kidd, Cecil Rhodes, H.G. Wells, Sidney Webb, Edward Carpenter, W.T. Stead, etc… Notably, only half those names live on and most are dimmer than Chesterton’s. Judged in that company he is sterling. When was the last time you saw an H.G. Wells insight applied to anything? If Chesterton were alive today a similar list would be something like, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Karen Armstrong, Thomas Friedman, Marty Peretz, Stephen Hawking, and Jonathan Chait. If I were going to produce a polemic against Karen Armstrong’s book The History of God – and I dearly would like to – you might be satisfied with a clever review. You wouldn’t chastise me for failing to produce the Summa Theologica. To criticize Chesterton in this regard seems unfair. Besides The Everlasting Man, his books are mostly recycled newspaper material. Next to a considered book of philosophy, Chesterton seems a little smug. Next to a cartoon and letters to the editor and in response to his actual opponents, he’s not only a genius, but a delightful one.

Ross Douthat adds:

Part of what makes Chesterton appealing to so many readers is also what makes him frustrating if you approach his writing looking for straightforward, syllogistic argument — namely, that his appeals on behalf of Christianity (or any other cause) tend to rove from history to philosophy to intuition to revelation to politics to aesthetics and then back to history again, with all different sorts of arguments crowding in together, and no necessary A=B=C thread to follow all the way through. He is not an “irrationalist,” as Bramwell suggests, but he isn’t Plato either. But then again neither are most people: They justify what they believe, whether it’s about God or political order or love or any other aspect of human affairs, based on a mishmash of different facts, ideas, experiences, premises, impulses, and so forth. And Chesterton succeeds as a polemicist, if not as a philosopher, because his style of argument fits so well with this very common, and very natural, way of human thought.

Interestingly, Wired ran an article a few weeks ago indicating that studies have shown that "human reason has nothing to do with finding the truth, or locating the best alternative. Instead, it’s all about argumentation." Hence, e.g., when people are asked to rank their favorite jams, they line 'em up in one order, but when they are asked to explain WHY they like certain jams, they line 'em up in a different order; the very act of "'thinking too much' about strawberry jam causes us to focus on all sorts of variables that don’t actually matter. Instead of just listening to our instinctive preferences, we start searching for reasons to prefer one jam over another." One wonders how these studies might be applied to, e.g., film criticism or literary criticism.

But I digress. (But in the spirit of the always digressive Chesterton, I hope!)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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